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Addiction Treatment Facilities: Prison or Paradise

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How far is too far when treating addiction in an addiction treatment facility? Treating addiction is not an easy task when it comes to dealing with multiple personalities and multiple stages of alcohol and drug addiction. Many addicts and alcoholics come into treatment only knowing how to lie, be deceitful, and steal (material things or even time). They have been doing it for so long; many are in absolute denial that they are even doing it. Those who are less willing to recover tend to be more aggravated when asked to participate in their treatment plan, while those who are highly motivated are pretty much willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay clean and sober. The real question is, with so many addiction treatment facilities out there, which approach is better? Strict aggressive treatment or more laid back comforting treatment?

The Cookie Cutter Treatment Program

The truth is, there is no cookie cutter addiction treatment program that works for everyone. Some addicts and alcoholics just respond better to the strict approach, while others respond better to being comforted. Balance is usually the key to any form of treatment. Sometimes tough love is needed while other times a shoulder to cry is required. Although, neglect and abuse at a treatment facility are never an option when it comes to attending a drug rehab. Programs like NARCONON have had their fair share of media attention when it comes to questionable treatment practices. A treatment center should abide by the law, but make sure they are implementing their experiences and best practices when treating the disease of addiction.

Most addicts and alcoholics have never been willing to take directions before, whether it be from parents, teachers, bosses, or other authority figures. They may initially resent the facility that tries to instill rules and regulations until they start to see that the program is offering them much more than just clean time – it’s offering them a better way of life. They are the addict and alcoholic that said and did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. The end result is that their own thinking and actions got them to where they are today. They need direction, rules, structure; someone to push the boundaries of uncomfortability because these addicts and alcoholics never had the chance to grow up or mature. Drugs and alcohol stunted them for so long that many have the emotional stability and maturity of an adolescent.

Addiction Treatment Is Like Prison

Many treatment programs put restrictions on patients when they enter treatment. The facility may take phones, credit cards, computers, and other personal belongings and put them in a safe place while the addict/alcoholic focuses on their treatment. They may make the patient accountable for their actions by making “contracts” whereby the patient agrees to try not to act out in a behavior that could cause harm to themselves and others. The addiction treatment facility may monitor phone calls and mail because, while in rehab, the staff wants to make sure the patient isn’t trying to find a means of getting high or drunk. Early recovery is a crucial time for an addict and alcoholic; they will want to leave rehab many times because they cannot cope with the way they feel. They just want to get drunk or high one more time. This is why treatment is so important – to help recovering addicts and alcoholics through the phase of wanting to get drunk or high and stopping them before they impulsively act. Most addiction treatment facilities do not do this with the intention of being “mean” or because they “hate addicts and alcoholics”; they do this because the patient has a disease that is emotional, mental, and behavioral. An addict or alcoholic will want to drink and use; they will want to leave treatment early, and they will want to act out. The patient will want to do this because their disease is in high alert – they may not even know that they are on the verge of relapsing. They may kick and scream, “this place is a prison…they hold you captive.” This is usually the result of an inability to deal with their emotions and feelings with ration and reason. They hate the world, and more importantly, they hate themselves.

If all an addict or alcoholic needed to do to be “OK” was stop using drugs or alcohol, there would be no need for any addiction treatment facilities – they would just stop “cold turkey”. The problem with addiction is that the person cannot just stop; they need help getting through the cravings, obsessions, and compulsions to pick up. If every treatment center did exactly what the patient wanted all the time, everyone would be relapsing continually and without much hope for lasting sobriety. There would be no boundaries, no lessons learned, or feelings dealt with. Nobody would be confronted on their behavior and the treatment center would fail to do their job at being professionals in the addiction field. Nobody said getting clean and sober would be easy, but with the help of professionals who have done this before, recovery is a reality for everyone.

Enabling An Addict And Alcoholic

Enabling the behavior of an addict or alcoholic does not work; that is why The Watershed is an industry leader when it comes to treating addiction. We believe that addicts and alcoholics deserve the chance at a real recovery. We want to help push those uncomfortable boundaries so that when you leave our program, you will be able to handle all kinds of real life situations which used to baffle you. You will be free from cravings and compulsions because you learned a better way to live; you will have peace of mind and serenity.

You may have been to treatment before and hated it, but if your denial, arrogance, and anger are stopping you from recovering, then you may want to look at what you are doing with your life. Is your perception really worth you not recovering from addiction? Before you decide what kind of treatment you think is best for you, remember that there are thousands who would gladly take your place to get out of the hell they are living. Everyone deserves the opportunity to recover from addiction, but you have to want this way of life. Before you say that a treatment center is blocking you from your recovery, we encourage you to ask yourself, “Am I in the way of my own recovery?”

Written By: Watershed Ashling

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